Monday, November 9, 2009

Orzammar - The New Telos?

I've been thinking since I finished my first playthrough about how each of the areas you have to go are like other Bioware or Bioware-esque games. Mainly how most of their games, have you in a tutorial section of sorts than force you to branch out into four areas. NWN's four districts in the first act, KotOR's four quest planets, KotOR 2's four quest planet, and finally Mass Effect's four quest planets, you get the picture. Jade Empire was an exception with a mostly linear game, though there were still three areas to go off of the first town (Pirate Base, forest, and the dam).

The first comparison that popped into my head, compared Orzammar to Telos from Obsidian's KotOR 2. While Telos wasn't one of the four quest planets, it bears a lot similarity in story and design to that which can be found in Orzammar.

The execution of the quest line seems similar enough to me. While it could provide an interesting quest line to follow, something inevitably falls flat. I am unable to put my finger what it is exactly. I just can't seem to care about the characters in the story and as a result am forced to just side with one in order to get what I want, the ability to get the hell out of there. Maybe if I had done one of the dwarven origins I would care about the players in the story, but as a human noble, I come in with no idea on what transpired to bring it to this state.

General spoilers will follow about the situation going on in Orzammar when you arrive, I'll denote the major spoilers before mentioning them.

When you first get to Orzammar through the mountains in the top left of the map (I am surprised by how many google searches I get for that info), it is besieged by two warring factions. Upon entering, a fight breaks out and some of Bhelen's supporters kill one of the other factions. This reminds me of the Czerka-Ithorian feud you had decide between in the other game. And, because nothing is ever simple, you have to side with one of the candidates for king and do some quests for him. The similarities are uncanny.

I eventually decided to side with Bhelen, because blood lines are the key to royalty. If the king has a surviving son, he gets the throne in my opinion. It doesn't matter if the King wanted someone else to have the throne, it isn't his choice. Now they are set-up to be the good-evil approach, so going with Bhelen seemed to go against my character's general do goodness, but by the time I reached this point in the game, I wanted to get to the end.


In the final credits of the game, I am glad I ended up siding with Bhelen. While he looked to be the bad guy when you first arrive, he actually results in benefits for the dwarves. Trade expands and new relations form between the races. Sure he disbanded the assembly and was nearly killed several times, but he brought the dwarves to a new golden age of sorts.

Curious as to the results of siding with the other faction, I looked it up on some forums. Apparently siding with the good guy results in a bloody civil war and the dwarves shutting themselves off from the outside world. So while one side looks good, it actually turns out to hurt overall to side with him. Can't judge a book by it's cover, showing good writing on Bioware's part. So while I like the results of the mission, actually doing the mission just sucked.

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